So, tonight I wanted to share with you a few different things. In our practice, we want to make sure that we practice all three—mindfulness, gratitude, and blessing—in some way. Now because we live in a world of forgetfulness, and our egos run wild, it is not easy to just jump right into mindfulness. So we need preliminary practices for releasing and purifying as well, which can be part of your mindfulness practice. It does not have to be separate. But you can make it separate if you really need to release and purify.
But the more we release and purify in our practice, it is a lot easier just to be, right? Be present, here and now. When we have a lot of obstacles in our mind, a lot of attachments, a lot of worries, a lot of regrets, it is hard, isn't it? Just be, right? So that is also part of our mindfulness, to allow these things to arise in our awareness and to be with it, to release it, purify it, and then be with reality as it is.
I will just end what I shared earlier. My translation of the healing Buddha dharani is sort of my non-literal spiritual interpretation. I affirm the principal reality of enlightenment, healing, spirituality, and all the inherent qualities of my Buddha nature as fully embodied in awakened teachers and awakening beings. Therefore, I also affirm the practical realization of enlightenment, healing, spirituality, and all the qualities of Buddha nature—physical, mental, emotional, environmental, and relational, etcetera—in myself and in all beings here and now.
So just very briefly I will go over each of the words in the dharani. So om is a universal sacred sound in India, and many, many mantras begin and end with om, and so it is just a recognition of the sacred quality of our practice. Om. And it is made of three sounds, which represent our universal Buddha nature manifest through enlightened thought, speech, and action. In other Indian philosophies, it can also refer to God as provider, preserver, and purifier. Usually they say creator, preserver, and destroyer, but I like to translate it as provider, preserver, and purifier, these aspects of divine reality.
There are many deep meanings of this divine sound, which can be revealed, understood, and experienced only by regular spiritual practice. So you can try to learn the literal meaning of the mantra, and that is fine, if it helps you to memorize it and to feel connected to it on a human/ego conscious level, but honestly the real meaning of a mantra does not come through us unless we practice more and more with that mantra or with mindfulness and meditation in general. You will receive a deep insight into the real, deeper meanings.
Namo means to bow with gratitude, respect, and an open heart. It is related to other words, such as namah or Namaste. Bhagavate means blessed one, which is one of the many honorary titles of the Buddha. It is a title of respect usually preserved only for those of high spiritual mastery. For example, Krishna is referred to as Bhagavan in the Bhagavad Gita, the song of the Lord. So, when we say, "Namo bhagavate," we are addressing the Buddhas as blessed beings of high spiritual mastery.
Bhaisajya means healing, and guru means—you could say teacher. Sometimes this Buddha is also referred to as Bhaisajye-raja, the king of healing or the guru of healing, or I guess you could even say, "Bhaisajya Buddha," the Buddha of healing. Vaidurya-prabha means radiant light of lapis lazuli. In other words, healing blue light. And rajaya, of course raja means king or royal.
Tathagataya is hard to translate. The Buddha was addressed as the Tathagata many times, or he would refer to himself as Tathagata. In other words, "the one who comes from nowhere and goes nowhere" is one way of translating it. And I will have to meditate more on this to really get the deeper meaning, but my sense of it at the level I am at right now is no coming, no going, just being here and now.
It reminds me of the question that was asked to the Buddha: "So, are you a God?" Buddha was like, "No." "Are you an angel?" "No." "Are you a king?" "No." "Well, then who are you?" "I am present here and now. I am awake." As he said, "I am awake." So, we call him Tathagatha because he is a full-time awake person, and he is fully in the present moment, never, ever over indulging in past regrets or future worries, only the present.
Arhate is referring to an arhat, one who is worthy of respect and offerings, for they have realized certain levels of enlightenment. Samyak-sam-buddhaya means that the Buddha has realized full, complete enlightenment.
And all of these, you could think of them as aspects of our own true nature. So, the first part is affirming the principles of the reality of enlightenment and healing and the qualities of our true nature. So we are praising these qualities and realities as the truth of the universe and the truth of our true nature and the truth of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Then, Tadyatha, therefore, thus—you see? Because this is the nature of the truth; therefore, we can then affirm the practical realization of enlightenment and not just the principal reality of enlightenment, but practical realization of enlightenment and healing on all levels. So, Tadyatha, therefore, and then om bhaisajye, bhaisajye, maha-bhaisajye-raja, which, there are a few different versions of this. Some have an extra bhaisajye. Some versions don't have raja. Some versions don't have maha, but basically, it is saying that there are many, many ways that we can manifest this enlightenment and healing: the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. The greatest of all healing is of course spiritual.
And Samud-gate, samud is related to that word that is also in samyak, sam. It means fully. And gate means to go, to go over to the other side. So to fully go over to the other side, which is to say we are fully going from our ego-centered delusions to the truth of reality. And in fact, when you realize the truth of reality, you realize it was not actually going anywhere. It has always been here all the time. But from our ego point of view, we don't see it that way. We are still trying to reach for liberation. So samud-gate means fully liberated.
And then svaha means yahoo! The bliss of realizing the truth. There is so much I can say, just like I had so much to say about Quan Yin and Amitabha, and I didn't really have time. And that is okay. I am just giving you a little—I guess you would call it a little sound bite or something, just to encourage you in your own practice, because really I can't say everything in one 20-minute talk. It is just a way to encourage you, because you are the ones who are going to make the talk real. So I am just kind of starting the talk for us, and you make it real through your life and practice.
So, a couple of months ago when I was in the ICU and then got out of the ICU and went into the regular hospital, I asked some ministers to come and be with me, even just for a few minutes to talk or to pray. You know, one thing I learned is it can be really lonely in a hospital, so if you know of someone who is in the hospital, please be medicine Buddha to them and go visit them, even if it is just for a few minutes just to sit with them, even in silence, or just to chat. It really would mean a lot to them. I know it would. It meant a lot to me.
Reverend Michael Gott, who is a good friend of mine, who is one of the ministers at the Unity Church of Houston, he came to visit me, and he actually came to visit me on his birthday, so I felt very honored that he took time on his birthday to come and see me.
And when he prayed with me in affirmative, positive way, you know, and he held my hands, afterwards, he was like, "Whoa. I've prayed for many, many people, but this is the first time I actually felt energy in my hands." And he was thinking, wow, I must be advancing more in my spirituality. I can feel energy now. Of course what I was thinking was, duh, who do you think you are praying for? Of course you felt energy. Of course you felt your hands tingle. No. Anyways.
Audience Member: So you weren't that sick.
ChiSing: Oh gosh.
And another time when I was at my acupuncturist Dr. Alan Chen in Plano, who is fabulous, and I'm so grateful to Patti for telling me about him.
Patti: And I am grateful for Andy telling me about him.
ChiSing: Oh yeah. Thank you. See? It just ripples.
But one time, I was just laying there with needles for an hour, and I was trying my best to meditate while I was just laying there, kind of breathing in and breathing out, saying a mantra, prayer, or whatever, and then because I was lying down I started to kind of daydream, so I kind of started thinking about other stuff, and then all of a sudden I felt this tingle up my feet. I mean, I literally felt like someone had just touched my leg and pressed it, and it kind of shocked me. But I opened my eyes, and there was no one else in the room. So I took it as a reminder from Medicine Buddha to go back to my practice and don't just indulge in all these random thoughts. I mean, they are okay, but they're not going to heal you. So come back to your mantra.
And another time at the acupuncturist, toward the end of the session, I literally saw—not literally, but very powerfully energetically in my mind, I saw a beautiful light blue light spinning with lots of sparkling filaments I guess. The way I thought of it was, oh, it is an octopus. But it didn't really look like an octopus.
I kind of humorously called it my healing octopus because the light came and all the filaments just kind of reached into my head where the tumor is and just began to just suck out the cancer cells in this visualization. But I kind of like to call it a healing octopus. So I've been trying to use that from time to time whenever I remember, to just visualize allowing the healing energy to remove whatever is obstructing my health.
So, you know, a few years ago right before I started having lots of health challenges and then finally found out I also had cancer, I woke up suddenly one morning, and I don't know what I must've been dreaming right before I woke up, but I had Medicine Buddha in my mind. I had never really studied in depth about Medicine Buddha. I mean, I knew about Medicine Buddha, but it was a strong sense of the presence of Medicine Buddha waking me up, and I knew what was being asked, which was to learn the Medicine Buddha mantra, especially the longer version which we learn here. And to do it in Sanskrit.
So it took me about a week or two to memorize it. It was difficult because there was not really a melody for it that I knew, so I actually just wrote a melody for it. I mean, the first half, I wrote it. The second half is kind of based on another melody that's is used in Tibetan chanting. But I modified it.
So anyway, I really feel there is a beautiful power in this dharani, and I tried to make it easy for you to memorize by putting a tune to it, and of course you can listen to it online to get it memorized. Really, it will only take you a week to memorize it, honestly. It is not that difficult.
So that day that I received the impetus to learn more about Medicine Buddha, I went to Barnes and Noble just to look at the bookstore, and I went to the Religion section. I went to the Eastern section, and I just kind of looked at all the spines of the books, and there was one that was an interesting color, so I picked it up, and the title of the book was Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be by Lama Surya Das. And I just opened the book randomly, and guess what chapter I opened to? Medicine Buddha. So I know for sure that Medicine Buddha really was calling me to learn this practice because I believe that Medicine Buddha is preparing me for the healing journey that I was about to embark on, not only for my sake, but for the sake of others.
So tonight, for the last five minutes of my talk, I just want to focus on what are some healing practices that can be helpful in your life. Raise your hand if your profession in some way involves healing, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual healing. So I know of some of you. Wonderful.
So some of us here have careers involving healing as part of our practice. Honestly, all of us, we're all about healing the planet and healing ourselves and healing each other. So that is really actually our real job. You know, you might have an external job, such as receptionist or nurse or firemen or whatever, but underneath is your real job, being a bodhisattva of healing. Really, mindfulness, gratitude, and healing.
I'm just going to mention a few things. This is not an exhaustive list at all. I just wrote down randomly five things that came to mind for tonight, some healing practices, at least on the physical level.
Basically, reduce sugar and dairy and heavy meat intake, okay? If you're not a vegetarian or vegan, that is fine, but can you reduce the amount of heavy meat you consume? And if you are going to have some meat, maybe try to see if you can get organic. It makes a big difference. And sugar, refined white sugar is so not good for us. It is actually a toxin, and I think some of the big-money companies are starting to confess that they actually purposely put sugar in almost everything to get you addicted to their products. And now they are starting to confess to this.
So, just watch out, reduce your sugar intake and also your dairy intake, too. I suppose a little dairy is not going to hurt you or anything, but if you're drinking three glasses of milk every day, you might want to reconsider. Statistically, countries that have the most dairy consumption also have the highest levels of cancer. I don't really know what the correlation is yet, but anyway, it has a lot to do with inflammation. Certain foods like sugar and dairy and meat cause your body to get inflamed. Inflammation increases. So if your body has too much inflammation, it gets harder and harder to heal itself. So just try to reduce things that are inflammatory.
Increase your drinking of pure water because if you are releasing toxins in your life, you've got a have water. Water is so important to release all of that, and of course air, too, but obviously air is always usually here. But water, a lot of us are very dehydrated, and we need that water to get the lymphatic system going and everything working properly. Make sure it is purified water and not tap water. Tap water is the worst thing you can drink these days, depending on which city and state you live in. Some are worse than others.
Also, a lot of us are deficient in vitamin D3. And if you take a multivitamin and it just says D and not D3, you might want to reconsider another brand, because it is important to have vitamin D3. Vitamin D, the body doesn't really process it. It treats it like a foreign elements, but vitamin D3 is much more bio-processable. And you can get vitamin D3 by being in the sunshine, but how many of us are going to be in the sunshine on the Texas hot summer day long enough to get the amount of vitamin D that we need?
And then earthing practice, to really be in touch with the earth. You know, our modern lifestyle does not really encourage us to be in touch with the earth anymore, so walk barefoot on the grass sometime. Hug a tree. Just walk in the mountains and be in nature. Whatever. It is important to be in touch with the earth, because the earth has an electromagnetic field that is very healing for us. But we block it with all of this stuff and buildings and stuff. And you know, that's fine. We have buildings. It is part of who we are as humans to make buildings, but let's also be in touch with the earth again also.
And then last but not least, I also wrote down just randomly exercise is very important. Even if it is just walking 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night, it is better than nothing. Walking is very, very good exercise, and if you can, do yoga also or qi gong or anything that gets you moving because sometime in your life, you're going to be so ill that you can't move much, so if you had done some moving before, it helps you get through that short period when you can't move much.
Otherwise, I believe if you don't have a regular lifestyle of healthy or even just minimal exercise, when you do get ill, it just makes it harder to get through it really. So that is just on the physical level, and I could talk on the emotional and mental levels and spiritual levels, but I will let you just do that on your own as you reflect on your life and practice.
So we have just 5 minutes left, and I want to make sure we have time to close and do our announcements, so thank you so much for making this community a reality. I really pray that all of you will come back in two weeks to our new location at CSLDallas.